As soon as California governor Gavin Newsom issued a state-wide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), volunteers at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Long Beach formed a plan. Using the parish census that had been completed only months prior, they made a list of any senior parishioners who may be in need.
The volunteers on Team Refuge, led by parishioner Tony McKeon, made personal calls to each person, asking if they needed help getting groceries or prescriptions, rides, or just someone to talk to. They could even provide free face masks; in early March, a parishioner donated several hundred of them. Team Refuge sent them out to the parishioners most in need just a few days later.